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George Clinton started doo-op group the Parliaments in 1955, rehearsing in the back room of the barbershop where he worked. The Parliaments released only two singles over the next 10 years but toured frequently between New York and Detroit. Eventually, the lure of Motown was too tempting, and Clinton moved to Detroit to fulfill his ambition to produce and write songs on a fulltime basis. In 1967, Parliament scored a hit with "(I Wanna) Testify," and with that success came troubles with their label, Revilot Records. Clinton refused to work with the label again, but instead of waiting for a legal resolution, he changed the band's name to Funkadelic. When Revilot folded a short time later, all of their contracts were sold to Atlantic Records. By 1970, Clinton regained the rights to the name Parliament and signed the entire Funkadelic discography to Invictus Records, scoring a hit on the R&B charts with "The Breakdown" in the process. Throughout the early '70s, Clinton recorded under both monikers, confusing friends and foes alike. In fact, by the mid-'70s, the collective began to be known as Parliament/Funkadelic, or P-Funk to simplify things. In 1976, Parliament, which by this time featured James Brown alumni Bootsy Collins, Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley, released the acclaimed album, The Mothership Connection, which was certified platinum on the strength of singles like "Tear the Roof Off the Sucker" and "Star Child." After nine albums (five of which went gold or better) and plenty of legal hassles, Clinton chucked both names in favor of a solo career, which he launched with the 1982 album, Computer Games. The band continued to work, both with Clinton and as the P-Funk All Stars, and toured throughout the '80s and early '90s. The popularity of funk rock bands such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers (whom Clinton produced) and Primus boosted the Parliament/Funkadelic profile, predominately among white college kids. At the same time, many aspiring rap and hip-hop acts were sampling Parliament's heavy grooves and distinctive beats, introducing the band to a new generation of young black fans. These new audiences refreshed an interest in and appreciation for the band, establishing Parliament as one of the biggest influences on contemporary music.
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